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    13 October 2005

    More propaganda

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    Not that anyone cares anymore when Bush talks, but his scripted conference today was off the chart in terms of propaganda. Furthermore, it's a real shame that he couldn't address a large body of troops (live or not) rather than only a handful; that would have done a lot for moral in Iraq and in the US. I guess rounding up a few hundred troops into an area would have been a tempting target and thus impossible in Iraq.

    Back to the staged conference
    As she [Allison Barber, deputy assistant defense secretary] spoke in Washington, a live shot of 10 soldiers from the Army's 42nd Infantry Division and one Iraqi soldier was beamed into the Eisenhower Executive Office Building from Tikrit — the birthplace of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

    "I'm going to ask somebody to grab those two water bottles against the wall and move them out of the camera shot for me," Barber said.

    A brief rehearsal ensued.

    "OK, so let's just walk through this," Barber said. "Captain Kennedy, you answer the first question and you hand the mike to whom?"

    "Captain Smith," Kennedy said.

    "Captain. Smith? You take the mike and you hand it to whom?" she asked.

    "Captain Kennedy," the soldier replied.

    And so it went.

    Ok. I understand what their doing here, they want to shame anyone who might criticize or complain about this mess in Iraq; pulling on the thread of nationalism ( or patriotism) once again.

    And man! are they desperate
    The soldiers all gave Bush an upbeat view of the situation.

    The president also got praise from the Iraqi soldier who was part of the chat.

    "Thank you very much for everything," he gushed. "I like you."


    [UPDATE] From CNN via Atrios

    The president's going to ask some questions and he may ask all 6 of them, all 3 of them. He might have such a great time talking to you. He might come up with some new questions. So what we want to be prepared for is to not stutter. If there's a question that the president comes up with that we haven't drilled through today I expect the microphone to go through to you Captain Kennedy.

    Anyway, clearly set up. But not according to McClellan in the WH press briefing. Here Scott first claimed that the event was not staged, then attacked Helen Thomas suggesting she was against fighting the global war of terrorism. After Thomas asked what the administration meant by "total victory" in Iraq, Scott made the tired use of 11 September yet again
    MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Helen, the President recognizes that we are engaged in a global war on terrorism...We are fighting them there so that we don't have to fight them here. September 11th taught us --

    Q: It has nothing to do with -- Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

    MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you have a very different view of the war on terrorism, and I'm sure you're opposed to the broader war on terrorism. The President recognizes this requires a comprehensive strategy, and that this is a broad war, that it is not a law enforcement matter.

    Scott then went on to the next question; after speaking on behalf of another. And now it gets good
    Q: On what basis do you say Helen is opposed to the broader war on terrorism?

    MR. McCLELLAN: Well, she certainly expressed her concerns about Afghanistan and Iraq and going into those two countries. I think I can go back and pull up her comments over the course of the past couple of years.

    Q: And speak for her, which is odd.

    MR. McCLELLAN: No, I said she may be, because certainly if you look at her comments over the course of the past couple of years, she's expressed her concerns --

    Q: I'm opposed to preemptive war, unprovoked preemptive war.


    But I digress, Scott later answered another question about the propaganda conference
    Q: So you're saying this was not a staged conversation for PR purposes?

    MR. McCLELLAN: This is an event where there's coordination that goes on and we work closely with the Department of Defense. They worked to pull together some troops for the President to visit with and highlight important topics that are going on right now on the ground in Iraq.

    Was that just a flip-flop? I think that was a yes.

    Read or watch this press conference somewhere it looks like the gloves are off in the press room. With the vote in Iraq, the vote in Afghanistan (which is still unknown after nearly a month), the CIA leak, the republican culture of corruption, continued administrative heavy-handedness and arrogance the situation may get worse and the administration is already on poor footing.

    Will this ever end?

    Posted by Geoff

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